In the town of Kahil, located east of the city of Daraa in southern Syria, a vocational centre opened in August has been providing training for local people.
Entering its fourth month, the centre has provided training to more than 60 people, primarily women on courses concerning textiles, handicraft and food industries. The idea is to improve the economic situation of families and the economic situation of society as a whole.
The training is done in cooperation with Olive Branch, who are helping to facilitate the training and make the process as simple and smooth as possible.
Olive Branch, which operates predominately in and around rebel-held areas of Daraa, has been active in areas of southern Syria where conflict has destroyed homes and communities. This includes the 2012 initiative “My Room is My Classroom” that intended to help children affected and displaced as a result of the fighting, and provide them with educational material.
Other initiatives similar to the one launched in Kahil include the opening of another vocational centre in the area of Tseel southwest of Daraa in January 2016. This centre also focuses on courses such as sewing, but offers several other courses on computer maintenance, marketing and management.
One of the participants in Kahil is grateful for learning new skills and the ability to support her children.
“I came to the centre to train and learn textiles, handicrafts, and [about] the food industry,” said one woman. “We learned how to make handicrafts, fabrics, and we learned how to help our children.”
Although large parts of Daraa, known as the cradle of the revolution, have witnessed intense clashes since 2011, including the advent of an ISIS-affilaited group Jaish Khalid Ibn al-Waleed, airstrikes and fights for territory have for the most part decreased considerably over the past few months.
The hope is that communities badly affected by the war, with the help of these centres and initiatives, can exploit this quiet period and begin rebuilding their lives.